Pontypool RFC are excited to be welcoming supporters back to Pontypool Park next week for the first time in nearly two years.
It will be the first time that fans have been able to visit the ground and watch Pooler in action since the 15-12 victory over Bedwas RFC on January 31st 2020.
In that time the club have been able to completely renovate the venue, which means supporters will enjoy a vastly improved matchday experience when they return.
The work has included a full renovation to the external components of the newly named The Ray Prosser Stand including re-cladding the rear and side elevations of the building, installing side screens, new seating and new home and away dugouts. A digital scoreboard has also been added.
Maesteg Harlequins RFC will be the first visitors to the new-look ground when they travel for the WRU Admiral National Championship opener on November 13th.
Pontypool RFC CEO Ben Jeffreys said: “Pontypool Park now compared to before the pandemic started is a totally different venue.
“It’s been completely renovated from top to bottom and that means the matchday experience is going to be vastly improved for our supporters, away teams and the whole community.
“We made a promise to this club when we first joined that renovating the venue was at the top of our priorities so to have had the chance to do that throughout the pandemic has really allowed us to do a full-scale job on it.
“For supporters they have a venue now where it’s befitting of a club of our stature and ambition.
“We have brand-new seating throughout the building, the building is now water-tight, the internal spaces are more practical and usable and we are now positioning ourselves as a club that has a venue that matches our ambition on and off the field.”
With the club opting not to sell season tickets, supporters will have to buy tickets on the day with a regular ticket costing £7 and concessions costing £5. The club will still continue to offer Vice President and Patron packages at a reduced rate for the upcoming season. For more information visit here.
The ground is now fully enclosed so there are several new access points selling tickets, including either side of the grandstand and on the terracing side. We would urge supporters to get to the ground in plenty of time and bear with us as we find out feet in this new era for our ground.
Anyone displaying symptoms or who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is urged to stay at home and follow the latest guidance. While we are excited to be returning, we understand the need to remain vigilant and keep everyone safe.
There will be a tribute before kick-off to remember those we have lost during the pandemic, which include club legend Prosser, who has the stand named after him, and loyal volunteer Pat Shepphard. Their families have been invited to the game to commemorate them and be a part of the new era of the club.
Jeffreys added: “This is the really bittersweet thing from our point of view.
“We are hugely excited to welcome people back to Pontypool Park. It’s been nearly two years since we have been together enjoying what we enjoy best, rugby.
“But as much as we are excited and happy to be coming back there is a real sense of sadness that we have lost many people who support this club but at the heart of that has been the late great Ray Prosser, who passed away during the COVID pandemic, as well as Pat Shepphard, a tremendous volunteer who gave many years of dedicated service to the club.
“It’s really sad knowing that they won’t be with us to enjoy this new era with a fully redeveloped ground.
“It’s great that rugby’s coming back, it’s long overdue from the supporters’ point of view but this has been a life-altering, life-changing couple of years for everybody and we recognise that despite the excitement and positivity, I think there is still a lot of trepidation and people are still nervous about COVID.
“We are going to be sensible in what we do in the coming months, people come first before rugby.
“It’s been nearly two years since we’ve all seen each other and I think just that feeling on the first day when we all come back together united in rugby, just excited to see what happens in the future.
“I think there will just be a lot of positive emotions but also reflections on what has happened in the world, in rugby and us a club have a role to play in bringing some positivity back to life and the best way we can do that is bring everyone together and deliver results on the field.”